Animal Body SizeLinking Pattern and Process across Space, Time, and Taxonomic Group

Animal Body SizeLinking Pattern and Process across Space, Time, and Taxonomic Group

Felisa A. Smith and S. Kathleen Lyons

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780226012148

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Galileo wrote that “nature cannot produce a horse as large as twenty ordinary horses or a giant ten times taller than an ordinary man unless by miracle or by greatly altering the proportions of his limbs and especially of his bones”—a statement that wonderfully captures a long-standing scientific fascination with body size. Why are organisms the size that they are? And what determines their optimum size? This volume explores animal body size from a macroecological perspective, examining species, populations, and other large groups of animals in order to uncover the patterns and causal mechanisms of body size throughout time and across the globe. The chapters represent diverse scientific perspectives and are divided into two sections. The first includes chapters on insects, snails, birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals and discusses the body size patterns of these various organisms. The second examines some of the factors behind, and consequences of, body size patterns and includes chapters on community assembly, body mass distribution, life history, and the influence of flight on body size.

Table of Contents

Part I Body Size Patterns across Space and Time

Chapter One Macroecological Patterns in Insect Body Size

Kevin J. Gaston and Kevin J. Gaston

Chapter Two Latitudinal Variation of Body Size in Land Snail Populations and Communities

Jeffrey C. Nekola, Gary M. Barker, Robert A. D. Cameron, and Beata M. Pokryszko

Chapter Four Evolution of Body Size in Bats

Kamran Safi, Shai Meiri, and Kate E. Jones

Part II Mechanisms and Consequences Underlying Body Size Distributional Patterns

Chapter Eight The Influence of Flight on Patterns of Body Size Diversity and Heritability

Felisa A. Smith, S. Kathleen Lyons, Kate E. Jones, Brian A. Maurer, and James H. Brown

Chapter Nine On Body Size and Life History of Mammals

James H. Brown, Astrid Kodric-Brown, and Richard M. Sibly

Conclusion The Way Forward

Felisa A. Smith and S. Kathleen Lyons

End Matter